Somerset West, South Africa Tourist Attractions
The little town of Somerset West, prettily situated at the foot of the Heiderberg range, can be taken in on a round trip from Cape Town through the areas round Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.The town, founded in 1822, grew up round a Dutch Reformed church. It was named after Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape.Somerset West is a town of trim villas with many parks and gardens. It preserves a number of old buildings, including the police station, the former parsonage and the church (1820).
Heiderberg Nature Reserve
On the outskirts of Somerset West, at the foot of the Heiderberg (1,138m/3734ft), is the Heiderberg Nature Reserve (area 245 ha/605ac) which was established in 1960. It is famed mainly for its many species of protea and its rich bird life. There are a number of hiking trails through the reserve, the finest of which is one running up through the Disa Gorge (named after the disa orchid, which flowers from December to the beginning of February) to the summit of the hill, the Heiderberg Dome, from which there are fascinating views.
Sir Lowry's Pass, South Africa
From Somerset Wes, the N 2 runs southeast and climbs to Sir Lowry's Pass (452m/1,483ft), from which there are fine views of False Bay and the Cape Peninsula. From the pass the road continues to Grabouw (30km/19mi from Somerset West), which along with the neighboring town of Elgin is the market center of the largest fruit-growing area in South Africa.
Gordon's Bay, Somerset West, South Africa
Strand, Somerset West, South Africa
Strand, originally planned as a coastal suburb of Somerset West, soon outstripped the older town, and now has a population of 33,000. The beautiful sandy beaches on False Bay and the facilities for a variety of water sports have made this a popular holiday resort, conveniently situated for the people of Cape Town.
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